Diablos del Ritmo 1960-1985: The Colombian Melting Pot‘ is another great (double CD) compilation from Analog Africa a label renowned for releasing unusual African music from the 70s, music which inspires and is frequently unexpected as this latest release readily demonstrates.
Label founder Samy Ben Redjeb, born in Carthage, Tunisia now based in Frankfurt, Germany is a prolific music collector. It was whilst on a Columbian record hunting trip in 2007 that he visited Barranquilla, an industrial port city in northern Colombia near the Caribbean Sea. It is also home to Carnaval de Barranquilla, one of the biggest carnivals in the world. He came prepared with several African records ready to barter with in exchange for Colombian music. The popularity of those initial records as well as instant familiarity of the roots to some of the local music led to an ongoing exchange of music and a growing collection from which Redjeb had to choose just 32 tracks for this compilation…no easy task.
Wganda Kenya opens the compilation with the a funk driven El Caterete, one of the most influential bands in the area who also featured on the Soundways 2010 compilation Palenque Palenque which focused on the influences of Afrobeat and African psychedelia along the Caribbean Sea coastline of South America. There are far too many tracks to rave about as the range is so vast, some beg a second listen drawing you back to the trance like trumpet rifts on Shallcarri by Grupo Abharca or the speed singing intro on Pégale a la Nalga by the Fuentes All Stars. Other tracks have an almost cinematic quality, Amor Salvaje features breathy female vocals and some more unusual sounds courtesy of Los Salvajes. The second disc has a stronger latin / tropical leaning with some fantastic jazz fusion, bright and colourful throughout with leading trumpet and carinet…if I had to pick a favourite it would be Cumbia Cincelejana by J. Alvear, I kept expecting Cab Calloway to pop up and ask “are you hep to the jive?” All of these tracks were made for the dance floor, they have an incredible energy and the sound quality is superb. Samy Ben Redjeb has really done a fantastic job and I can see this album becoming a big favourite for newcomers and collectors…as well as tracks finding their way into numerous re-mixes.